Change (Peace, Love & Unity) is in the Air ... Time to GET IT !
You are ready for your Ascension? (Kryon Update: Apr 2014)

(Solar and Heliospheric Observatory - website /

Cairo Sky
“Jasmine Revolution”
Symbol of peace: Flowers placed on the barrel of a tank
in very much calmer protests than in recent days in Tunisia

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011
Mannoubia Bouazizi, the mother of Tunisian street vendor Mohammed Bouazizi. "Mohammed suffered a lot. He worked hard. but when he set fire to himself, it wasn’t about his scales being confiscated. It was about his dignity." (Peter Hapak for TIME)

How eyepatches became a symbol of Egypt's revolution - Graffiti depicting a high ranking army officer with an eye patch Photograph: Nasser Nasser/ASSOCIATED PRESS

2 - EGYPT Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

''17 February Revolution"

3 - LIBYA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

5 - SYRIA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech

"25 January Youth Revolution"
Muslim and Christian shoulder-to-shoulder in Tahrir Square
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
(Subjects: Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" (without a manager hierarchy) managed Businesses, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)
"The End of History" – Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)
(Subjects:Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Muhammad, Jesus, God, Jews, Arabs, EU, US, Israel, Iran, Russia, Africa, South America, Global Unity,..... etc.) (Text version)

"If an Arab and a Jew can look at one another and see the Akashic lineage and see the one family, there is hope. If they can see that their differences no longer require that they kill one another, then there is a beginning of a change in history. And that's what is happening now. All of humanity, no matter what the spiritual belief, has been guilty of falling into the historic trap of separating instead of unifying. Now it's starting to change. There's a shift happening."

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

Heads of governments during the opening session of the African Union summit
on January 30, 2014 at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa (AFP, Samuel Gebru)


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Ugandan men to go on trial on homosexuality charges

Kim Mukisa and Jackson Mukasa face life imprisonment if found guilty in first such case since introduction of new anti-gay law, Barbara Among in Kampala, Thursday 17 April 2014

Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni, who signed a new anti-gay
law in February 2014. Photograph: Carl Court/PA

Two Ugandan men will go on trial next month accused of homosexuality, the first people to be charged since a controversial new anti-gay law was passed.

Prosecutors said on Wednesday that they had sufficient evidence against Kim Mukisa and Jackson Mukasa, who denied the charges when they first appeared in court earlier this year. They have been held in Luziro prison in Kampala since December.

Mukisa, 24, a businessman, was charged with "having sexual knowledge of a person against the order of nature" and Mukasa, 19, with permitting a person to have sexual knowledge of him against the order of nature.

They are the first Ugandans to face trial on homosexuality charges, with an earlier case collapsing before it reached court and the majority of those arrested paying stiff fines to avoid prison.

Uganda's president Yoweri Museveni signed the anti-gay law in February. It punishes first-time offenders with 14 years in jail and allows life imprisonment as the penalty for acts of "aggravated homosexuality".

Since the law was passed several donors have cut aid to Uganda, while others have diverted development support to projects that promote human rights.

Mukisa and Mukasa, however, have been charged under the 1950 Penal Code Act, which also prescribes life imprisonment if a person is found guilty of homosexual acts.

They are expected to defend themselves during the trial, which is scheduled to start on 7 May.

Related Article:

Ugandan President Praises North Korea Security Training

Naharnet - AFP, Naharnet Newsdesk, 17 April 2014

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has thanked North Korea for providing military training, reports said Thursday, dismissing those who criticize a security deal which included training police and special forces.

"There are people who are not happy with them, but I have not seen any problem with them," Museveni said Wednesday, according to the Daily Monitor newspaper, speaking at the passing out parade of almost 700 police officers trained by the North Koreans.

Museveni -- veteran head of the east African nation since 1986 -- also extended his "warm greetings" to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, who succeeded his father to run the Stalinist state in 2011.

Uganda's police chief Kale Kayihura last week told Agence France Presse that reported United Nations investigations into the security deal would be "welcome", adding that the two nations "deal in a transparent way."

North Korean officers also trained Ugandan tank crews and special forces, Museveni said.

"I thank the government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea," Museveni added, according to the report. "They always give us technical support."

Opposition parties criticize the police for blocking demonstrations and breaking up rallies with force when they defy orders not to march on the streets.

Earlier this month Uganda's police dropped the word "force" from their name in a bid to shed an image of brutality and corruption, although a spokesman said they stopped short of calling themselves a "service", for fear of being seen as going soft.

For the third year running, the Ugandan police this month topped the list of state agencies singled out for torture in the 2013 annual human rights report released by the state-funded Uganda Human Rights Commission.

Ugandan troops are fighting in Somalia against al-Qaida linked Shebab insurgents, as part of a U.N.-backed African Union force.

They are also fighting in neighboring South Sudan, backing government forces against rebel troops.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ethiopian government cancels anti-gay rally

Homosexuality 'not a serious crime' says government official, in country where gay sex punishable by 15 years in prison

TheGuardian, Associated Press, Wednesday 16 April 2014

Dark days for gay Africans. The Ethiopian government cancelled the anti-gay
rally but homophobia remains rife. Photograph: Stringer/Mexico/Reuters

A planned anti-gay rally in Ethiopia has been cancelled by the government, according to officials.

In addition, a plan by the legislature to add gay sex to a list of crimes ineligible for presidential pardons has been dropped, according to Redwan Hussein, an Ethiopian government spokesman.

Gay Ethiopians face severe penalties for living in the open. Same-sex acts are punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a 25-year jail term is given to anyone convicted of infecting another person with HIV during same-sex acts.

But the government does not appear ready to further demonise homosexuals. Redwan said the anti-gay rally was on certain groups' agenda, but not the government's.

"It is not a serious crime," he said. "Plus, [homosexuality] is not as widespread as some people suggest. It is already a crime and a certain amount of punishment is prescribed for it. The government thinks the current jail term is enough," said Redwan, who confirmed that gay crimes would not be added to the list of unpardonable crimes.

Hostility toward gays across Africa is high. Uganda and Nigeria increased penalties against homosexual acts this year. Gay people in other countries face severe discrimination and harmful physical attacks.

Two groups had been planning to hold the rally in Addis Ababa on 26 April. Dereje Negash, chairman of a religious group affiliated with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, said the cancellation happened after the church had asked the government to prevent the rally.

"Currently I'm being threatened by the gay community for organising the rally. Despite the threat, I will continue to pursue my struggle against the gay community. I believe I have been given a task by God to do this. I will do this even if it means life or death," Dereje said.

Dereje said his group is not seeking the harassment of gay people, but he wants Ethiopian law to increase the punishment for gay sex.

Dereje said that gay sex tourism is increasing in the country and he wants it stopped. "We believe the gay people should be supported to get out of their bad life. We have helped hundreds of people to abandon gay acts so far," he said.

End of an era as Prince Bandar departs Saudi intelligence post

Prince's exit could signal shift in kingdom's policy towards Syria, with looming leadership transition complicating picture

The Guardian, Ian Black, Middle East editor, Wednesday 16 April 2014

Prince Bandar bin Sultan in 2008. Photograph: Hassan Ammar/AP

Prince Bandar bin Sultan's departure as head of Saudi intelligence, confirmed this week, marks the end of an era for a flamboyant and powerful character on the Middle Eastern stage. The big question is whether it signals a meaningful shift in the kingdom's policy towards Syria and its commitment to the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad.

Bandar – known as "Bandar Bush" from his 22 years as Saudi ambassador to the US – is a legendary networker and hawk. The Saudi press agency said he stepped down at his own request. (It did not say whether he would continue as head of the national security council, a less important position.) He will be replaced by his deputy at the Saudi equivalent of the CIA, Youssef bin Ali al-Idrisi, who is not a royal and therefore far less powerful.

For the past 18 months Bandar had led Saudi efforts to better co-ordinate the supply of weapons to Syrian rebels fighting Assad. But he faced criticism for backing extreme Islamist groups and thus risking a repeat of the "blowback" that brought Osama bin Laden's Saudi fighters home after the officially sanctioned jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Bandar's departure is not a complete surprise. Amid unprecedented tensions in relations between Riyadh and Washington, there had been signs he had fallen from favour and had in effect already been sidelined on Syria.

"Bandar's approach was very black and white," said one well placed observer. "And he seems to have over-promised to the king in terms of confidently predicting Assad's departure."

He was often abroad, reportedly being treated for health problems, or "unavailable" at home due to illness. He is also known to suffer badly from depression. Several months ago he failed to turn up for an urgently-scheduled meeting on Syria with David Cameron at Chequers.

According to sources in Riyadh, Bandar faced strong opposition from the powerful interior minister (and possible future king), Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who led the crackdown on al-Qaida following a wave of attacks between 2003 and 2006. Bin Nayef became increasingly concerned about battle-hardened young Saudis returning home radicalised after fighting in Syria. Bandar's removal probably reflects that policy divergence, western diplomats and Saudis say.

Bandar has irritated the Americans with outspoken criticism of Barack Obama's failure to punish Syria following the chemical weapons attack near Damascus last August. After that he talked of limiting interaction with the US in protest at its policies on Syria, Israel and especially the beginning of rapprochement with Iran – the latter an unchanging bogeyman and regional and sectarian rival for the Saudi prince. Bandar was also said by a senior Arab figure to have angrily threatened the emir of Qatar, which upstaged its larger neighbour in backing anti-Assad forces. His departure may help heal the rift between the US and the kingdom following last month's meeting between Obama and Abdullah. That, in turn, could impact on Saudi policy towards Syria.

Bandar, a former fighter pilot, is King Abdullah's nephew. He was close to presidents Reagan and both Bushes. He negotiated huge arms deals for the kingdom – including the infamous £43bn al-Yamamah agreement with the UK. The Guardian reported allegations that he had received £1bn in secret payments from BAE.

Known for his showy lifestyle – he has a penchant for cigars and flies in a private Airbus – he has kept a low profile since returning from the US to Riyadh in 2005. He became head of intelligence in July 2012. Apart from the Syria file, he was also closely involved in Saudi support for Egypt's military rulers after they ousted the Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi.

Saudi-watchers say decision-making in Riyadh is in poor shape. King Abdullah is 90 and frail, Crown Prince Salman is 78. Last month the appointment of a new deputy crown prince, Muqrin, a relative youngster at 68, again focused attention on the succession.

"The looming transition in Saudi leadership … may contribute to the uncertainty and opacity of the kingdom's foreign policy-making," said Yezid Sayigh, of the Carnegie Foundation. "Already highly personalised, decision-making may become further dispersed as multiple centres of princely power prepare to compete over the succession from King Abdullah."

Related Article:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Smart solar energy for Africa

Deutsche Welle, 15 April 2014

The Berlin-based Mobisol company is bringing power to places where there has been none. By combining mobile phone technology and solar power generators, the company aims to electrify African homes.

To get an office in the Friedrichshain area of Berlin is not easy. After a long search Mobisol managed to rent an office on the fourth floor at the back of an old factory building. From a hallway rooms branch off where employees sit in front of their computers. One room is used as a small workshop. The walls are full of photos showing African people: standing around small solar panels in their villages, installing solar panels on roofs of corrugated iron sheets, watching TV in a small room, listening to radios or working with laptops. They are photos of African customers and colleagues.

"They are there to remind us that we are providing a service to the people on the ground in Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda, who are selling our products there," said Thomas Duveau, one of Mobisol's strategic heads. There are about 30 employees at the company's headquarters in Berlin. They work in various departments from software development to administration.

Thomas Duveau is a strategic
planner at Mobisol
The real Mobisol product is not made in Berlin. The workshop in the German capital is used to try out new ideas. All solar panels and batteries are purchased in China and shipped directly to Africa. Mobisol's most important product is made by the Schwedt company in the German state of Brandenburg. It is a yellow plastic box, the size of a shoebox.

Inside the box there is the control facility for the solar power system and a mobile phone SIM card that connects the box with Berlin. The only requirement for the technology to work is a functioning mobile network. That can be found, for example, in Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda. 85 percent of people there have mobile phones but not all of them have electricity. They frequently use their mobile phones for money transfers. For many, the only way to charge the phones was by using diesel generators. "Our solar power systems enable people for the first time to produce power in their homes," said Duveau.

Performance on demand

The smallest of the simple yet robust sets of equipment delivers 30 watts. In just one hour it can be installed on a roof from where it provides light for up to three lamps, while also powering a radio and charging a cell phone. The largest plant produces 200 watts and can power a refrigerator as well as lighting several rooms, a stereo unit and a TV.

The Mobisol power box is simple and robust
In Germany, a family of four uses an average of 3,500 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. In Tanzania, a family uses one tenth of that amount. Businesses, of course, consume more energy. In response to requests from entrepreneurs, Mobisol is currently developing a 600 watt system which can operate a small workshop.

Via the SIM card installed in the system, signals are received every hour in Berlin indicating whether the system is producing power. "If not then we send a text message request to one of our local partners, with the address of the customer, to quickly go there and check the status," Thomas Duveau told DW.

"That means we sometimes know before the customer that there is a problem with the system that needs to be fixed. That's a level of service that is quite rare in East Africa."

Customer service includes a toll-free hotline in the local language and the guarantee that a defect system will produce electricity again within 72 hours. 220 employees are working for Mobisol in East Africa, most of them in Tanzania. All were trained in their home country by German technicians.

One very important element for African customers is the micro-financing. Customers have three years to pay for the equipment. It then belongs to them. Depending on the size of the solar power system, they pay between seven and 33 euros ($9 to $45) per month. That is often less than they have been used to paying for kerosene lamps or diesel generators.

Mobisol has 220 employees in East Africa, all trained by German technicians

Payment models

Payments are made using mobile phones. 97 percent of the payments are transferred without any problem, said Thomas Duveau.

"Should a customer fail to pay an instalment, we have the ability to shut down the plant from Berlin, thanks to the SIM card incorporated in the system," he added. When that happens, the outstanding payment is usually quickly made and the equipment is turned back on again.

Regular payments are vital for the company's survival. During its first years, Mobisol received some funding from the European Union and from the German Reconstruction Credit Institute (KfW). 1,000 sets of equipment were financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Big plans for Rwanda

Judging by the age of the company and its employees, Mobisol is a startup.

Mobisol hopes to have 10,000
customers by the end of the year
Only three years ago, the first prototype of the solar power system was developed by three engineers in a garage in Berlin. The company started pilot projects in Tanzania and Kenya in 2012. In April 2013, the company made its first official sale.

Currently, the company has 3,000 customers and is expecting to have 10,000 by the end of this year. Thomas Duveau is confident that Mobisol could become Africa's largest energy supplier by 2020.

Currently, the company is negotiating with the Rwandan government which wants to provide 70 percent of the population with access to electricity by 2017. At the moment, this is only the case for 17 percent.

In Berlin, the company's strategists are currently considering how they can combine swift growth with good quality and service. Time is pressing - Mobisol has just received an enquiry from the World Bank asking if it can envisage large-scale production.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Guinea Ebola outbreak under control

Yahoo – AFP, 14 April 2014

Members of the Guinean Red Cross post information concerning the
 Ebola virus during an awareness campaign on April 11, 2014 in Conakry
(AFP Photo/Cellou Binani)

Pretoria (AFP) - Guinea's Foreign Minister Francois Fall on Monday said the west African country has brought the spread of the deadly haemorrhagic Ebola virus under control after more than 100 people have died.

"We are pleased to say we have controlled the spread of the epidemic," Fall told reporters after a meeting his South African counterpart Maite Nkoana-Mashabane in Pretoria.

"We have even managed to cure some of those infected."

The outbreak is one of the most deadly, with 157 people infected and 101 deaths in Guinea alone.

"We benefitted from help from the international community to stop the spread of the epidemic," he said.

International aid organisations last week launched a series of emergency measures in Guinea and across west Africa in a bid to contain one of the worst ever outbreaks of the deadly Ebola virus.

The outbreak began in the impoverished country's southern forests, but has spread to Conakry, a sprawling port city on the Atlantic coast and home to two million people.

Graphic fact file on the deadly Ebola virus (AFP Photo/Adrian
Leung/John Saeki)

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has described west Africa's first outbreak among humans as one of the most challenging since the virus emerged in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"It is the first time we have faced this epidemic," said Fall adding that despite acting "very quickly" to stem the tide of the epidemic, "sadly there were a hundred people dead."

Fall said strict measures are being taken to prevent it spreading. Everyone entering or leaving Guinea is checked for Ebola.

In neighbouring Liberia, there have been 21 cases, including 10 deaths.

The virus known as Zaire Ebola, has had a fatality rate of up to 90 percent in past outbreaks, and there is no vaccine, cure or even specific treatment.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Tunisia's Ben Ali's organized plunder

Deutsche Welle, 13 April 2014

The laws of Tunisia were tailored to suit the Ben Ali family, which siphoned off profits from the economy. A World Bank study shows how the ruler and his family enriched themselves.

More than one-fifth of the Tunisian private sector's profits went to the family of former dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali. That is the result of a study entitled "All in the Family," published recently by the World Bank.

How can a dictator seize so much money? Similar structures exist all around the world, said World Bank economist Antonio Nucifora, one of the authors of the study.

The authors of the study analyzed 220 companies that were placed under state guardianship in January 2011. By focusing on the most profitable sectors, the members of the dictator's family managed to obtain 21 percent of private sector profits with only a 1 percent share of the investment.

Telecommunications, transport and real estate were in the hands of the family. They were able to set the prices at their own discretion, according to the study.

Decrees at

Antonio Nucifora says old
structures could return
"They created monopolies, which were highly profitable," Nucifoa said. The World Bank estimates the wealth of the Ben Ali family at the end of his rule at 13 billion dollars - more than a quarter of Tunisia's gross domestic product.

That happened to the expense of the population, who in their daily live often had no choice but to buy goods from "the family." "You can't really talk about illegal measures," Nucifora said. "Ben Ali and his family took advantage of the regulations that were in place."

For example, the 1993 investment law was tailored to the interests of the family, he said. Twenty-five decrees that made it difficult for other companies to enter the market were issued to benefit the ruler. The public was told that these measures would protect consumers.

A driving force for political change

The division of the society into two groups, a small elite able to enrich itself and the powerless masses, was ultimately a main reason for Ben Ali's overthrow in 2011, Nucifora said.

But the measures that enabled Ben Ali to enrich himself still exist in the country. Nucifora said it was therefore posssible for history to repeat.

The Tunisians revolted against the
Ben Ali regime in January 2011
But Wided Bouchamaoui, director of the Tunisian business association, said all successful companies should be suspect.

"Ben Ali is part of our history, and we have to accept this," she said, adding that it was now necessary to learn from the mistakes in the past.

'A general problem in the Arab world'

But these structures are not unique to Tunisia, Nucifora said. They also exist in other countries in the region, even though the population may have revolted against its rulers.

"That's a general problem in the Arab world," he said. "Nepotism and the elites who benefit from it exist in many countries around the globe. It's similar in Russia and Ukraine."

Nucifora said that the World Bank will publish - probably in June - another study about economic structures in the Arab world.

Related Article:

Friday, April 11, 2014

US Marines headed to Chad park to fight poaching

Yahoo – AFP, 11 April 2014

Anti-poaching team patrols in Zakouma National Park, Chad, on
February 25, 2014 (AFP Photo/Marco Longari)

Washington (AFP) - A small team of US Marines are to head soon to Chad's Zakouma National Park to train local forces in the fight against the poaching threatening the area's elephant herds.

Around 15 marines are to arrive in the Central African country by the end of April and will stay for around a month, a military official said.

The troops will train a group of approximately 100 rangers from the Chadian environment ministry's mobile brigade tasked with tracking poachers.

The marines will train the Chadian rangers on small unit tactics and patrolling, shooting and navigation.

"These skills will help prevent poaching, investigate incidents and pursue criminals," the Marine Corps said in a statement.

An increase in poaching in Zakouma has led to a sharp decline in the elephant population -- from 4,000 in 2005 to 450 just five years later -- according to the African Parks conservation group.

In February, authorities incinerated a ton of ivory confiscated from poachers in the park.

The price of a kilogram of ivory has surpassed $2,000 on the Asian black market, with demand constantly rising, according to several conservation groups.

Central African countries are exploited by vast poaching operations organized by armed groups which take advantage of gaps in border security, allowing illicit goods to pass from country to country.

According to a 2013 report from the World Wildlife Fund, at about $19 billion a year, poaching has become the world's fourth largest illegal market, after drugs, fake currency and human trafficking.

The marines sent to Chad will come from a special unit assigned to the NATO base in Signoella, Italy. The Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force conducts cooperation missions in Africa.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Mozambique considers law to fight big game poaching

Yahoo – AFP, 10 April 2014

Kobus De Wet, an environmental crime investigator, walks past the carcass
 of a three-day-old rhinoceros killed by poachers at Houtboschrand in the
 southern part of Kruger National Park, northeastern South Africa, on
November 27, 2013 (AFP Photo)

Johannesburg (AFP) - Mozambique is considering a new law to fight poaching, as the number of rhinos killed so far this year in neighbouring South Africa reached 277, a minister said Wednesday.

The proposed Conservation Areas Law will impose a prison sentence of up to 12 years, as well as a $90,000 (65,000 euros) fine for poachers of endangered species, including rhino and elephant.

Under the current laws, wildlife poaching is not considered a crime in Mozambique, where a large number of rhino poachers at South Africa's vast Kruger National Park are said to come from.

Buyers of smuggled horns often get away with small fines.

Mozambican authorities last year said illegal hunters had wiped out rhino populations, with ivory poaching in the remote northern part of the country also on the rise.

Tourism Minister, Carvalho Muaria said the bill, which was introduced to parliament on Wednesday came after "increased pressure by game poachers, whose main targets are African elephant and rhinoceros".

South Africa's Kruger National Park, which boarders Mozambique has over the past years borne the brunt of rhino poaching.

This year, more than half of the attacks of the endangered species in the first three months of the year occurred in the park, where 166 animals were killed, despite the deployment of troops to protect them, figures released on Wednesday showed.

Authorities say hunters often kill the giant animals inside the heavily-guarded reserve and then escape with their hacked-off horns to Mozambique, where they are then exported around the world, often to Asia.

The crisis has seen the two countries sign a memorandum of understanding to the scourge of rhino poaching.

"South Africa recognises the need for engaging with Mozambique on wildlife management," the environmental affairs ministry said in a statement.

"The conclusion of the agreement comes as the number of rhino poached in South Africa since the start of 2014 increased to 277."

Illegal rhino killings in South African parks continue despite the introduction of air and foot patrols, as well as increased numbers of rangers assisted by troops.

So far 32 people have been arrested for poaching related incidents, but authorities could not give the number of cases that had been successful prosecuted.

In 2013, over 1,000 rhinos were poached in South Africa, fuelled by a demand for their horns in Asian countries, where they are believed to have medicinal properties.

In February, conservation groups announced that they will move 100 rhinos to neighbouring Botswana for safekeeping.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Libyan rebels agree to reopen two oil terminals

BBC News, 6 April 2014

Related Stories

Two Libyan oil terminals are due to reopen after the government and rebels reached an agreement.

Libya's justice minister said the terminals of Zueitina and Hariga would reopen on Sunday.

Two other ports, Ras Lanuf and Es Sider, will be reopened after two to four weeks of negotiations.

Oil traders have been watching the talks closely, keen to know when Libyan oil is going to re-enter the market after eight months of disruption.

Zueitina is located to the south of the city of Benghazi and Hariga is east of the city.

Potentially the two ports could increase Libya's crude oil exports by about 200,000 barrels per day.

That would be a big boost to the nation's output, which is currently running at around 150,000 barrels per day.

"The ports Zueitina and Hariga will be handed over to the state with the signature of this agreement.

"The protesters are banned from returning or obstructing work at the ports," Justice Minister Salah al-Marghani said.

Negotiations with the government have been difficult and previous agreements have broken down.

Rebels have been demanding a greater share of Libya's oil wealth and more regional autonomy.

Rogue tanker

Last month US forces returned a tanker that had been loaded with oil by the rebels to the Libyan government.

The North Korea-flagged ship Morning Glory had been loaded at the port of Sidra and evaded a naval blockade before being boarded by US Navy Seals south of Cyprus.

Its evasion prompted parliament to sack Prime Minister Ali Zeidan.

On Friday the benchmark price of Brent crude closed at $106.59 a barrel, up 44 cents.

Nigeria becomes Africa's biggest economy

Yahoo – AFP, Ola Awoniyi, 6 April 2014

An emplotee of Nigerian firm Ikeja works at a warehouse in Lagos on
June 12, 2013 (AFP Photo/Pius Utomi Ekpei)

Abuja (AFP) - Nigeria on Sunday became Africa's biggest economy, leap-frogging South Africa, after the government announced a long-overdue rebasing of the country's gross domestic product.

The new calculations take into account changes in production and consumption since the last time the exercise was carried out in 1990, including an added focus on communications and the movie industry.

The data indicated that the economy grew to $453 billion in 2012, instead of $264 billion as measured by the World Bank for that year.

South Africa's economy was at $384 billion in 2012, according to the World Bank.

Estimates for 2013 indicated further expansion to $510 billion, Nigeria's chief statistician, Yemi Kale, told a news conference in the capital, Abuja.

"Nigeria has moved to be the largest economy by GDP size in Africa and has moved to be the 26th largest economy in the world," finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said.

"On a per capita basis, Nigeria is number 121 in the world. So, we have a total GDP size where we have moved up to 26th," the former World Bank managing director added.

New industries

The widely expected results are based on calculations taking into account a range of new sectors and industries that were negligible or non-existent in 1990.

They include the mobile telephones market -- Africa's largest -- music and the hugely popular local film industry, Nollywood.

Comparitive figures as Nigeria says it has overtaken South Africa to become
Africa's biggest economy. (130 x 50 mm) (AFP Photo/S.Ramis)

Nollywood, for example, was now worth 853.9 billion naira ($5.1 billion, 3.7 billion euros) or 1.2 percent of GDP.

"The rebased GDP numbers imply that the level of economic activity is much higher than previously reported," the finance ministry said in a statement, adding that the economy was becoming more driven by the service sector.

"It indicates a clearer picture of Nigeria’s economic landscape, and the significant opportunity for growth and wealth creation in the Nigerian economy."

With 170 million people, Nigeria is about three times the size of South Africa and has enjoyed high rates of growth, notwithstanding widespread corruption, poor governance, rampant oil theft and a raging Islamist insurgency in the north.

According to the International Monetary Fund, Nigeria averaged 6.8 percent annual growth from 2005 to 2013 and was projected to grow this year at a rate of 7.4 percent.

That compares to a little over five percent between 2005 and 2008-9 in South Africa, which has struggled to go beyond 3.5 percent since.

Global investors have been eyeing Nigeria as a potential boom market, along the lines of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) 10 years ago.

But economists have warned not to take the new figures at face value, given that South Africa -- the continent's only G20 member -- has fewer people and is streets ahead in areas such as infrastructure and governance.

Worker inspects facilities on oil drilling platform at Amenem, 35km away from
Port Harcourt in the Niger Delta on April 14, 2009 (AFP Photo/Pius Utomi Ekpei)

Okonjo-Iweala said GDP per capita in Nigeria was now $2,688 -- up from $1,555 in 2012 -- taking the country from 135th position in the world to 121st.

GDP per capita in South Africa in comparison was $7,508.

Kale for his part said the figures should not be seen as an end in themselves but should be used to help the government shape policy for the future.

The next rebasing was planned for 2015, with the results out in 2016, he added.

A 'vanity' exercise

For ordinary Nigerians -- most of whom still live on less than $2 a day -- the rebasing is likely to have little effect, but it will improve the country's balance sheet and its credit rating and promote it from being a low-income economy.

Nevertheless, Nigeria still faces an immense challenge in terms of infrastructure deficits. Slow ports, bad roads and a lack of electricity are some of the major factors hampering business activity.

Bismarck Rewane, the head of the Lagos-based Financial Derivatives Company said the exercise could only be meaningful "if it impacts positively on the living standards of the people".

"Nigerians will still buy petrol at the same price, they will still have the same amount in their pockets, electricity is not going to improve on Monday morning," he said.

"So, the exercise is a journey from reality to vanity," he added.

South Africa will continue to remain the most competitive economy, despite Nigeria's new status, he added.

Rwandan president accuses France of direct role in 1994 genocide

French justice minister will not attend commemorations marking 20th anniversary of genocide, after Paul Kagame's comments, Anne Penketh in Paris, Sunday 6 April 2014

Paul Kagame, the Rwandan president. Photograph: Carl Court/AFP/
Getty Images

France has reacted with fury after the Rwandan president, Paul Kagame, renewed accusations of direct French involvement in the 1994 genocide, on the eve of ceremonies marking the 20th anniversary.

The French government announced that the justice minister, Christiane Taubira, would not attend the commemorations in Kigali after Kagame, in an interview with the weekly magazine Jeune Afrique, accused both France and Belgium of having a "direct role" in the genocide.

A total 800,000 minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in the four-month killing spree triggered by the assassination of Rwanda's Hutu president Juvénal Habyarimana.

The spirited French reaction highlights France's tormented relations with Rwanda since Kagame, the former leader of the Tutsi rebels who swept to power after the genocide, became president.

Didier Reynders, the foreign minister of Belgium, the former colonial power in Rwanda, said he still intended to travel to Kigali to pay homage to the victims and their families. "We are not going to pay homage to the current Rwandan government," Reynders said on Sunday.

The French foreign minister at the time of the 1994 massacres, Alain Juppé, said Kagame's comments were a "falsification of history".

Kagame notably said that France had not "done enough to save lives" by mounting Operation Turquoise in the west of the country, and had not only been complicit but "an actor" in the massacre of Tutsis.

He pointed to "the direct role of Belgium and France in the political preparation of the genocide, and the participation of the latter in its actual execution".

Juppé said it was "intolerable that we are being designated as the main culprits." He urged the French president, François Hollande, and the government to "defend without ambiguity the honour of France, and of its army and diplomats".

France's financial and military support of the Hutu authorities in Rwanda are at the root of Kagame's suspicions. After two decades of mistrust, including a three-year break in diplomatic relations, there had been a tentative fence-mending in recent months. Last month France sentenced a Hutu former army captain, Pascal Simbikangwa, to 25 years in jail on genocide charges in the first such trial, and it has arrested a second suspect.

But Kagame shrugged off the verdict against Simbikangwa. "We'll see what becomes of this sentence on appeal," he told Jeune Afrique.

Related Article:

Saturday, April 5, 2014

African Hebrews fight for recognition

Deutsche Welle, 5 April 2014

The so-called African Hebrews in Jerusalem have struggled to gain acceptance in Israeli society despite the fact that many of them were born in the country. Some of their customs and practices are frowned upon.

Sitting in a shared community space in Dimona, a central Israeli city in the middle of the Negev, a cooked lunch is served of green beans, a chicken schnitzel and some noodles - it looks like any other lunch.

In fact the meal looks like something straight out of the United States, but secretly it's completely vegan - the chicken made from gluten and other dairy and meat-free products, but it looks like the real deal.

Veganism, organic farming, locally made clothes, spiritual music, exercising three times a week and home birth are all major parts of the daily lives of a group of 2,500 men, women and children known as the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem, or more commonly as the African Hebrews who live in family houses in an urban commune.

The group have long fought for recognition in Israel, both as Jews and citizens - only 70 of the African Hebrews are now full citizens, the rest are permanent residents.

Up to 100 children in the community who make up the third generation are stateless because they weren't born in the US, nor were their parents. They aren't recognized by the US, and Israel won't make them citizens, despite being born in the country.

A difficult passage

During the height of the civil rights movement in 1967, 300 African Americans who identified themselves as Jews left Chicago and migrated to Liberia in West Africa. They were led by a man called Ben Carter, now known as Ben Ammi, who worked in the steel industry. He told the group the Archangel Gabriel appeared to him in a dream and urged him to lead an exodus of black people from America. The initial members were convinced they would never lead truly free lives in the US.

"We wanted to unlearn what we had learned as slaves, as slaves you're dehumanized, you can't possibly love yourself and therefore you couldn't possibly love others - so we had to unlearn that behaviour and learn the value of being on land," says community elder Prince Immanuel Ben Yehuda.

After two years of heavy rain, sickness and money shortage in Liberia the first families made the move to Israel. They were given temporary visas and housing in the Negev while Israel's religious authorities investigated their Jewish ancestry. The chief rabbinate ruled they were not Jews according to the halakha, but Christians embracing a Hebraic identity. The group were then effectively written out of the law of return and the government stopped renewing their visas and barred more members from joining them from the US.

Ahmadiel has been pushing for more rights
Community spokesman Sar Ahmadiel, 57 and elder Prince Immanuel Ben Yehuda, 59, both say they got their "calling" to the community later. Sar Ahmadiel worked as political assistant on Capitol Hill in Washington, and Prince Immanuel was a journalist before leaving the US.

"When we arrived it was a very difficult political situation in many respects - because we didn't have access to public services - we had to create the necessary institutions to take care of ourselves. We had to figure out how to eat and exercise and look after ourselves because we couldn't afford to get sick," saysPrince Immanuel.

Sar Ahmadiel said the community are Jewish in that they trace their roots and ancestry back to the tribe of Judah.

Today the community's progressive views on living a humble and healthy life are easier for Israelis to stomach than their practice of men being allowed more than one wife.

The Israeli government insisted the community stop this practice when they were granted permanent residency in 2003. "But we weren't going to break up existing families and at the time they understood that," says Sar Ahmadiel.

More than one wife

The community leadership - all men - are now pushing for Israel to recognize their belief in polygyny - men being allowed more than one wife.

According to a community insider, polygyny is still practiced in the community, but the marriages are not legally recognized by the state of Israel.

"Legally in Israeli it's unacceptable, but they are getting around it by not registering other wives," he says.

Adapting and adopting to a
different lifestyle
According to the insider the third generation of African Hebrews are beginning to reject polygyny, despite elders saying they want to raise it again with Israeli officials.

"Mostly the younger generation women in the community are opposed to men having more than one wife and many of the younger men in the community say they don't want another wife because they can't afford it," the insider told DW.

He said the divorce rate in the community was very high - between 40 - 50 percent. "Everybody I know from the first generation is divorced, they may have had five wives but I noticed the third generation are much more stable."

The practice of polygyny comes from the African Hebrew's literal interpretation of the bible, when in ancient times the Israelite men had more than one wife.

Despite changing views within the community, the senior male leadership have been pushing for Israel to legitimize their way of life.

Way of life?

"We feel trends in the world now are allowing the issue to be put back on the table simply because the west doesn't really practice monogamy - there is serial monogamy, there's monogamy with mistresses, there's monogamy with prostitution. What's the problem with saying as men we have a disparity in the number of women in our community - which we do have in our community; we have more men than women - what do the women do, do they just live a life without the possibility of being part of a family? We say this solved that," says Sar Ahmadiel.

While the practice of polygyny is seen as regressive, the community continues to make waves in Israeli society and internationally.

Drawing attention to themselves
The community's vegan factory located in Dimona produces packaged vegan food sold in supermarkets across Israel. They have just signed a contract with Domino's Pizza in Israel to provide vegan cheese for 52 of its outlets. The UK and the US are also interested in the cheese product.

"It's made of soy and it melts just like the regular cheese and has a similar taste and without anyone dying in the process," says Koliyah Ben Israel, manager of Shaare' Hateva Natural Foods factory.